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This Sunday, Pune saw the Sunburn Festival, Asia’s biggest music festival take place at Blue Frog in Ishanya Mall. The build up to the event was fantastic- promotions all over the city for a brand that has established itself in the market; you couldn’t go wrong with getting the crowd excited to be a part of it. Did it manage to live up to it’s expectations? Sadly, no. Here’s what went wrong…

Crowd Management

For an event of this magnitude, the least one would expect is signboards and crew to help you figure out your way in a mall. So, imagine our surprise when we enter the gates to find absolute chaos at what was supposed to be the “Box Office” It was partly the fault of the underage crowd that probably hadn’t been taught what “VIP” and “Complimentary” stood for. The lack of adequate Sunburn crew didn’t make things any easier- I almost tried sympathizing with the one girl who had to manage all the inquiries. Two people to sort out hundreds of tickets and check age proof? WHY hadn’t anybody thought this through? And add to this the inability of the few crew members to answer basic questions. I can’t even begin to imagine what the students who had been standing in line all afternoon must have gone through.

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Food and Drinks

The limited number of stalls all had one thing to offer- tikkas. So of course I got excited on seeing Pizza Hut! But once again, the method of payment made things confusing, and on an empty stomach, annoying. One stall accepted coupons, the other only cash. So you ended up purchasing coupons for something that costed 100 bucks,only to have the rest of the coupons worth 400 going to waste (unless of course you decide to eat more at that stall itself) I’m still trying to figure out why we didn’t have one method of payment everywhere. Was it that complicated to organize? And the food wasn’t that great either. And thanks to the payment system I couldn’t buy the pizza since I had to finish off the other coupons. Drinks thankfully had a standard coupon system, so the exchange at the bar was pretty smooth flowing.

Cost

When I say cost, I mean cost of the passes, the food and the drinks. It didn’t seem that much the the beginning, but at the end of it if you honestly think about it, there was no value for money. Did I pay that amount of watch one DJ perform? Did I pay that much for 5 pieces of uncooked chicken? Did I pay that much for a red bull and vodka only to be high with no music to enjoy? You get the drift.

Crowd

If you offer student passes, expect students to be there. And if there’s going to be a lot of underage crowd, make sure you have the adequate staff to check IDs and control the crowd if in case things were to go out of hand. There were a lot of conversations  with terms like “underage crowd” and “let’s get out of here” being thrown around. Lewd behaviour was a given- it seemed like some of them had come to the festival only to click selfies, get drunk and pass out at 7 pm in the middle of a dance floor. As crass as it seems, those who were there know this is true.

Service

Stand in line to get food, only to be told they only accept coupons. Get coupons for the food only to be told the food service has stopped. Ask for a reasonable explanation as to why we are being made to run around for something that should be a given only to have the manager apologize and state the obvious- the food service has been stopped. The bar was the only area that was well taken care of.

The Sunburn Festival is associated with good vibes, good energy and of course, good music. What happened to the first two? Unfortunately, things took a bad turn around 8 pm when the music was asked to be stopped. I was lucky enough to catch Anish Sood in action. Yes, he was the only saving grace. Thank you Anish, you’ve now got a new fan. For those who came to watch Carnage, I feel sorry for them.

I hope Pune gets to see this again, though it’d be great if they could pull up their socks the next time around.

 

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